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/ 16 February 2017

Mobile exhibition celebrating 500 years since the Reformation comes to London

Storymobile en route

A mobile exhibition celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation is arriving in London on Saturday 25 February 2017. After the official opening ceremony at 10.30am, the exhibition will be accompanied by Lutheran choirs all day, and followed by a special service at St Martin-in-the-Fields at 3pm.

Launched on 3 December 2016, the ‘European Roadmap’ is taking its Storymobile to all corners of Europe, to help people across the Continent discover the significance of the Reformation for today.

Bishop Markus Dröge, of the Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia Church of Germany’s EKD who will preach in St Martin-in-the-Fields, said:

“Collecting reformatory stories in 67 cities across continental Europe and the British Isles, the Storymobile shows how Protestantism connects Europe. It emphasizes that the Reformation is not just a past event. Just like Martin Luther and the Protestant reformers of the sixteenth-century, today people are being called as well to find solutions of the great challenges of our time.”

Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, first circulated on 31 October 1517, were intended to challenge specific abuses in the church. The thinking that flowed from them proceeded to challenge deeply held assumptions about religion and belief and triggered far-reaching changes in politics, society and culture. But at the heart of the Reformation was the message that salvation is God’s gift in Jesus Christ, and the desire for that good news to transform people’s hearts and relationships, in the church and in society.

The Revd Dr Sam Wells, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, said:

“We remember the Reformation with gratitude, because it proclaimed that there’s a place in the heart of God for everyone, and even though none of us can ever find our own way there, God finds us and brings us home. In 1517 that discovery unearthed an amazing and dynamic power: 500 years later, it’s as true as it ever was.”

Lutherans helped to rebuild London after the Great Fire of 1666, where they opened their first church at Holy Trinity the Less, protected by the Court. Lutheran communities grew with trade, sailors, and political relationships over the years. Churches in the British Isles developed in various ways, with a continuing call to return to the gospel, while the Church of England remained as a broad, welcoming, catholic national church ministering to all in this land. Living alongside the Church of England with a strong presence in London, Lutherans continue to work closely with their ecumenical colleagues and will be worshipping together at St Martin-in-the-Fields after a day of choral performance in Trafalgar Square.

The Rt Revd Dr Graham Tomlin, Bishop of Kensington, said:

“London was influenced hugely by the Reformation with changes in the Church of England spreading from Lambeth and the royal court, and then the waves of Protestant refugees who came here over subsequent centuries. Here in the diocese of London, we are preparing to commemorate the beginning of the Reformation, especially in the light of our important and fruitful ongoing relationship with the diocese of Berlin-Brandenburg, and look forward to ever closer links as this year progresses.”

The Storymobile tells the story of Reformation across Europe and down the centuries. Using a variety of communications methods today just as Luther exploited the social media of his time (print and pamphlets), it will gather in stories from the communities it visits, as to how they understand and interpret reformation, physically on the day or in advance via facebook.com/counciloflutheranchurches. This kaleidoscope of stories, images and videos, relating to national reform or individual renewal, from history or the future, will be gathered and displayed in Berlin this summer. All are invited to visit the Storymobile at Trafalgar Square from 11am on 25 February 2017, contribute their stories, listen to Lutheran choirs throughout the day, and join an ecumenical evensong at St Martin-in-the-Fields at 3pm.

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The diocesan communications team provides support to the network of clergy, churches, parishes and other worshipping communities that comprises the Diocese of London, as well as to the staff teams of the London Diocesan Fund.

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